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Flesh & Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  1,563 ratings  ·  297 reviews
On March 25, 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City burst into flames.  The factory was crowded.  The doors were locked to ensure workers stay inside.  One hundred forty-six people—mostly women—perished; it was one of the most lethal workplace fires in American history until September 11, 2001.

But the story of the fire is not the story of one accidental mom
Hardcover, 182 pages
Published February 8th 2011 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2011)
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3.78  · 
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 ·  1,563 ratings  ·  297 reviews

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Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Short & perfect for all ages (well, 10 & up) Marrin describes the Triangle Fire very briefly & then goes back to describe how it came to be. He discusses immigration & the immigrants, why they came here, what they did once they arrived & why.

People didn't immigrate to the US on a lark. The conditions the Russian Jews & southern Italians left were horrible. These were the main victims & villains of the Triangle fire. Reforms were facilitated by, of all places, Tammany
Kate Lynn
Feb 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, thesis
Marrin's book is for young adults, but anyone can benefit from the information it contains. One of my favorite parts of reading it was the carefully selected pictures that matched the sights being describe.

Yes, it does contain a lot of the same facts and stories other books on the Triangle Fire have, but there is also information you may not know. Martin focuses his time outside of the main events on immigrant life and leisure. At the end of the book, he also looks into organized crime in the g
When I first heard about this book, I wondered how bad it was that I was skeptical about this story being written by a man. It's sexist of me, but I feel like... this one is ours, you know?

But I still think I approached it with a mostly open mind. How much is self-fulfilling prophecy? This is probably the driest version of the story I've ever read, and it felt like the author almost took pains at every step to remind the reader that a few of the victims were men. Pages and pages were spent on po
Mar 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: info-bios
On March 25, 1911 a New York City clothing factory caught fire and 146 people, mostly women, died. Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy by Albert Martin is full of information, not just about the Triangle Fire, but of its victims, unions and workplace reforms, immigration, politics, and other topics that help the reader truly understand the tragedy.

I read this book on my computer through the Chicago Public Library ebook program. I recommend to anyone listening to this book
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire was a preventable tragedy. The deadliest workplace fire in New York until 9/11, its aftermath led to workplace reform as subsequent strikes demanded laws to protect workers.

Marrin recounts the events and conditions that lead to the creation of NYC sweatshops, explains the causes of the fire, and narrates the investigations that followed.
David Quinn
Jan 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I didn't know this was a YA book until I borrowed the kindle version from my library. I'm glad I didn't know because I probably wouldn't have read it and that would have been my loss.

The book is solid all around. The author provides the right amount of background history to set the stage, he tells the story very well and he does a very nice job describing the aftermath of the fire and its impact on the garment industry labor environment in the near and long term. There are lots of very useful ph
1,100 garment factory workers died in Bangladesh recently when the company building collapsed. These workers made about $38 a month each to sew clothes for the Western world. They didn't want to come to work that tragic day because they'd seen the growing crack in the floor. But the contractor told them if they didn't come to work, they might lose their jobs.

I'd been meaning to read Flesh & Blood So Cheap by Albert Marrin since it was honored as a National Book Award Finalist a few years ag
Mary Sanchez
Sep 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The events that led up to the tragic Triangle Fire and the aftermath is the story of poor immigrants, mostly southern Italians and Russian Jews who settled in crowded tenements in New York City and worked in the sweatshops and eventually the garment factories run by greedy bosses who had no regard for their workers. Sadly, history keeps repeating itself with the sweatshops around the world and the recent fire in the Bangladesh garment factory.

I appreciated the research that went into this book-
Jan 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Sad true tale of the garment industry in America turn of the century. Documents the horrible conditions women and children faced and sometimes died in. Discusses the Triangle Fire where factory locked doors, a common practice, claimed approximately 147 lives. No one was charged. Black and white photographs inside, some very candid. Visual treat for those interested in old firefighter pictures. A little morbid subject matter but informative. Quick read.
Sarah -  All The Book Blog Names Are Taken
Less about Triangle, more about Jewish and Italian immigrants, unions in the early 20th century, and Tammany. Not a terrible book, but misleading in the title.
Margo Tanenbaum
Mar 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Friday, March 25 is the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Fire, one of the worst industrial disasters in American history. Quite a few books for young people have been published on the topic, both historical fiction and non-fiction. The most recent, just released this spring by award-winning non-fiction writer Albert Marrin, brings the tragic events of that spring afternoon to life by setting the fire in a sweeping historical narrative that encompasses not only the events that led up to the fire ...more
I grabbed this on a whim when I saw it at the library. I'm divided between giving it a 3 and a 4, but I am rounding up, mostly because of the final chapter and because of the attention paid to individuals and their contributions.

This is a mid-grade book good for older elementary students or maybe middle school students. The book is well-organized and briefly describes the reasons behind waves of Russian Jews and Italian Catholics coming to New York in the late 19th and early 20th century but doe
May 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Can you imagine working a 14 hour day 6 days a week, well that's what happened in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. The Triangle Fire happened in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, a factory that made a kind of dress. It happened on March 25, 1911 at 4:40pm, about 5 minutes before the workers were supposed to leave work. 146 people died and 71 were injuried. Flesh & Blood So Cheap by Albert Marrin captures the story of this fire. This book goes back to talk about the people that worked in the f ...more
Flesh & Blood So Cheap happened to be a random library find for me, and as such, exceeded all my expectations. Albert Marrin has put together a fantastic piece of historical non-fiction.

The writing here is straightforward and easy to understand. The subject matter is less straightforward, and Marrin presents it wonderfully. Going back to the years leading up to the Triangle Fire, and detailing everything that made it possible, along with the backgrounds of the places and people involved, he
Dec 15, 2012 added it
While the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire is in the subtitle, I found this much more far-reaching. It gave good explanations of the labor movement, formation of unions, workers' strikes, and what happened after the fire. My library has this in young adult, but I thought it could work for older kids (younger than teens) - it gives very clear explanations of what a strike is, what a sweatshop is, etc., and doesn't exactly gloss over some of the tougher parts, but presents them in a hopeful way. L ...more
Marjorie Ingall
Utterly unboring look at America's worst workplace disaster before 9/11. Well-written, dramatic, suspenseful, sad, great use of photos and quotations...this book makes history immediate and exciting. I'd recommend it not only to kids with even the slightest interest in immigration or voting rights, but also to adults who don't know much about the fire and its aftermath. Marrin ties together immigration history, the personal histories of some of the victims, portraits of strikers, politicians and ...more
Feb 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was recommended as a top nonfiction pick for young readers. I strongly disagree. I think this book has too broad of a topic and will lose most readers as they won't have a strong enough background knowledge in the breadth of topics necessary to fully enjoy this book. Even as an adult reader I felt it went on and on and really needed to focus more on the shirt waist fire or have more chapters, or subcategories within chapters to help frame the reading.
Edward Sullivan
Excellent history that places the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911 in the context of tenement life for new immigrants in early 20th century New York City and the rise of the labor movement.
Sep 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So far, very good.

I always learn something new while reading Children's nonfiction. Last night I learned the origins of "beyond the pale."
Mar 11, 2019 rated it liked it
This focused more on the labor regulations that formed as a result of the fire, rather than the history of the fire itself. There's a clear Democratic bent here, with its praise of Progressives, unions, and government regulations. It equates capitalism with greed. It all gets annoying by the end.

Based on the tone and kind of explanations (yes, we already know what a corset is), this feels like it was written for a younger audience, perhaps middle school or early high school. There's some good vo
Jan 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I read SO MUCH fiction, sometimes it's nice to mix in a little non-fiction. Cleanse the pallet and all that. As someone who doesn't read much historical non-fiction, I tend to get overwhelmed by those 900 page adult books so YA NF was a surprisingly wonderful section to find on the local library digital catalog.

Flesh & Blood So Cheap is a YA NF about the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist fire in New York City. The bulk of this book is spent in background history. It's just enough information to gr
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
The title of this book should be "The Fire That Ignited Labor Unions," because it's really, as other reviews have pointed out, a brief history of factories in Manhattan, and the emergence of labor unions in the United States during the early part of the 20th century. It spends some ink describing the fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory itself, and some mentions of similar industrial disasters.

The point of the book is to say that we should sacrifice profits for freedom and safety. By that, t
Kari Allsup
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Flesh and Blood So Cheap provides a thoughtful history of the immigrants who shaped our country’s labor policies through their fight for the laborer’s rights. It would pair nicely with Letter’s from Rifka by Karen Hesse and The King of Mulberry Street by Donna Jo Napoli on a text set.
Richie Partington
by Albert Marrin, Knopf, February 2011, 192p., ISBN: 978-0-375-86889-4

"...When you get caught
Between the moon and New York City..."
-- Christopher Cross, Burt Bacharach, and Carole Bayer Sager, "Arthur's Theme"

"Fire safety did not 'pay.' It did not pay the insurance industry, since safer buildings lowered insurance costs, reducing the earnings of insurance sellers, called brokers. They made their living by keeping a p
Brian Kelley
Mar 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Digging through the "maybe" pile sometimes brings an unknown gem. In my case, that gem is Albert Marrin's Flesh & Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy.

My bookpile, larger than usual, has expanded due to the fact that we need to pick some new literature for the upcoming changes in curriculum. So, I have been forcing myself to read any recommendations, award winners, and well-reviewed fiction, non-fiction, and verse in the hopes of getting it right.

The rough draft of what the new
Dec 09, 2011 rated it liked it
Although I'm a fan of narrative non-fiction for adults (like Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal or Blink), I wasn't sure if today's children were. Other than an errant picture book biography here and there, I haven't seen many non-fiction titles targeted for pleasure reading, rather than a book that children use to write history reports and whatnot. I assumed that Flesh and Blood So Cheap wouldn't be suitable for classroom curriculum because it would focus on such a specifi ...more
Oct 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
In Flesh and Blood So Cheap, Albert Marrin tells the story of the history leading up to the tragic Triangle fire of March 25, 1911, as well as the legacy it left behind. The story begins with the history behind the mass emigration of Russian Jews and Italians to New York City around the turn of the century. Fleeing their homelands with hopes and dreams of a better life, millions of immigrants boarded filthy, overcrowded ships heading to America. Upon arrival these immigrants were not met with we ...more
Sep 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
In March of 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York caught fire. Due to so many highly flammable materials in the factory, the flames quickly tore through the crowded upper floor sweatshop. Doors were locked to prevent workers from leaving early, fire exits were not functional, and 146 people—mostly immigrant women— in the crowded factory died. Because of this fire, laws and preventative measures have been put in place to keep our workplaces and public venues safer. For example, doors ...more
I read this one in two sittings, a week or two apart. Once you pick it up, it's an aborbing read as much for as its horrors as its way of making history come alive. But it's not exactly cheerful reading for a lunch break, so it sat around my living room for a while before getting picked up again.

I'd argue that the story isn't as much about the Triangle Fire as it is about social conditions that led up to the fire and reforms attempted in the aftermath of the fire. The horrifying events of the fi
American Mensa
Flesh & Blood So Cheap by Albert Marrin is about the Triangle Fire in New York City. The story takes place in the early 20th century. It is one the most shocking events in U.S history before 9/11. At the time, there was no Medicare, no safety laws regarding fire escapes, nothing like that. Back then, if you worked in the clothing industry and you died at work, it was "ok". In the clothing factories, workers dealt with arsenic and other poisonous materials. There were a lot of dangers at work ...more
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Albert Marrin is a historian and the author of more than twenty nonfiction books for young people. He has won various awards for his writing, including the 2005 James Madison Book Award and the 2008 National Endowment for Humanities Medal. In 2011, his book Flesh and Blood So Cheap was a National Book Award Finalist. Marrin is the Chairman of the History Department at New York's Yeshiva University ...more